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Totally Gay for You

Sacha Baron Cohen's in queerface. But what's Brüno's real target?

Sacha Baron Cohen casts the straight world as his straight man.
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Sacha Baron Cohen casts the straight world as his straight man.

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Rated R.

Funny as it is, Brüno could not be as shockingly uproarious as Borat. No matter how well retold, a joke necessarily loses explosive force the second time around. But a great gag is a thing of beauty forever — so, too, a comic performance. As the primitive Asiatic "other" Borat (at once crypto Jew and rabid anti-Semite), Baron Cohen articulated a violent antipathy, inciting the unwary to agree with him. As the sophisticated, though stupid, European "other" Brüno (at once narcissistic celeb and frantic wannabe), Baron Cohen courts that antipathy himself. In both cases, he confounds his audience, creating a persona we hate to love.

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